Large windows and glass doors can provide bright, natural sunlight for your home, but they also give the outside world a clear view of the interior. A simple solution to covering these windows and doors is vertical blinds. They're easy to operate, provide convenient opening and closing to allow for the light conditions that you want at any given time, and easily slide out of the way so you can use the door or open the window. Whether you're trying to troubleshoot and repair blinds that aren't working or you're just curious, deciphering how vertical blinds work can be a bit confusing.
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Vertical blinds are fastened to a track at the headrail and use a system of axles and individual gears typically operated via a wand that allows you to slide all of the vanes out of the way at once or adjust the angle of the vanes to control the amount of light that enters a room.
Opening and Closing Vertical Blinds
A simple pull and voila! Your vertical blinds include a sliding mechanism that allows you to slide them out of the way so that you can open a door or window. But how does it work? Each individual blind vane is attached to a sliding piece that is inserted into the track that runs along the headrail of the blinds. When you pull the blind wand open or closed, the blinds slide in unison one way or the other on the track. Before sliding them out of the way, be sure to open the blinds so they don't get stuck together and impede motion.
Adjusting the Vanes
The second operation of blinds involves tilting the vanes open to let light in or closed to keep light out. This operation is a bit more complex, but it's still relatively simple. The blind wand is attached to a gear mechanism. When you turn the blind wand, the gear turns and causes the axle that runs the length of the headrail to turn. Each blind is also connected to a small gear mechanism that is turned by the spinning axle. The result is that each blind vane is opened or closed by its individual gear. This allows you to tilt the blinds with a turning motion.
Issue With Turning Function
Like any home product, vertical blinds can tangle or break as a result of normal use. The turning function is particularly prone to sticking and breakage. Gears wear easily, and once the teeth on a gear wear down, the blinds won't operate properly. If none of the blinds are working and the axle is not moving, first check to make sure that all the individual vanes are properly aligned and facing the same direction. Sometimes blind vanes face the wrong direction and prevent proper turning.
If this isn't your issue, there's likely a problem with the gear box attached to the blind wand. Remove the wand and try repairing or replacing the box. Make sure that the gear is properly aligned. If it's just one blind vane that isn't turning, the problem is probably a stripped gear on that vane. Adjust or replace the gear. Contact the manufacturer of your blinds for warranty service or parts if needed.
Issue With Sliding
Sometimes vertical blinds won't properly slide closed. Since each blind vane is linked to the track individually, they won't slide in unison if they become disconnected. While they will still slide open, since one blind will push the next, they may not slide closed. In this case, your blind wand may just slide on its own without pulling the blinds along. There is usually a thin wire that connects each blind slider with the next located over the metal axle. If the blinds aren't working, the wire may be disconnected or broken and in need of replacement.